The Truth About ‘No Labels’ – Another Mark Penn/Nancy Jacobson Vanity Project

Today’s bizarre launch of ‘No Labels’, the so-called ‘Woodstock of Moderates’ purporting to speak for the voiceless ‘center’ in American politics is a sham. Why? It began life in early 2009 as the brainchild of Mark Penn’s wife, socialite Nancy Jacobson. Initial meetings, just a few months into Obama’s presidency, convened at Penn’s opulent Georgetown residence. Penn and Jacobson desperately sought a platform to re-create their political relevance. HRC supporters and most independent observers branded Penn as larcenously incompetent. He was professionally and Jacobson socially adrift.

So, before the Tea Party took hold, before Beck broke out his Fox ghetto and Obama’s presidency still undefined by anyone, Penn and Jacobson declared Obama and the Democratic majority ‘radical’. Penn and Johnson were ‘centerists’ – a positioning more rooted in bootstraping their own social ambitions than objective political analysis.

Their early gatherings in 2009 featured many of the same faces we see today. Then, as now, Jacobson gathered together Tom Davis, Penn, DLC-Dems, and other Bush’41 apparatchiks to plot her return to prominence and her husband’s re-habilitation. We know. An attendee asked if we wanted to explore a possible invitation to a meeting, if anything sit back against the wall as an observer. We wanted nothing to do with either Penn or his wife, Jacobson. We predicted failure.

We were right. These 2009 meetings petered out. Before the Tea Party really took off. None of the ‘moderates’ from either party really agreed with each other on basic ideological frameworks, policy recommendations or messaging. There was no charismatic personality emerging around which to build a movement, At best all could agree to ‘reasonableness.’ They, like the Neocons, were all chiefs and no indians – no one wanted to do any real work building something but would love to find a vehicle for their own uses.

Fast forward to today. Jacobson and Penn make a virtue of their failure. No leaders or organizational bones are features; the vague ‘No Label” moniker is just a hip, social media crowd source thing. No one has to do any hard work. No one is building political infrastructure devoted to reclaiming the political center. People just get to proclaim their ‘like’ – no click even needed. Painless. And ineffective. As before in 2009, most are has-beens or soon to be former: former congressman, former governor, soon-to-be-former mayor, former advisor, etc. No one really left in the game. Tom Davis? Dead man to VA Republicans. Crist? Worse. There are 3 moderate Republicans in the new House. Instead, Jacobson and Penn have added TV show hosts. The Morning Joe show? MSNBC-affiliated radio talk shows? Oh, and college democrats. Jesus. And so on.

Secondly, what will this motley social branding effort achieve? Will this Nancy Jacobson/Mark Penn vehicle become a 501(c)(4) or a 527 group and engage in independent expenditures? Raise money? Take on misleading ads? No. Will they hold rallies? No. Apparently they will encourage members to cite David Brooks’ columns as the acme of reasonableness. And mind the civility. Use the small fork for salad!

‘No Label’ is as meaningful – and transient – as a trending tweet. Perhaps it has one other use. It can serve as a chyron title beneath Penn or someone else’s cable appearances.


  1. Dr Leo Strauss says

    From: N__________
    Date: June ___ 2011
    Subject: No Labels Weekly Wrap Up

    Hello everyone. I thought I’d send you the e-mail below which is an update on No Labels from co-founder Nancy Jacobson.

    As most of you know, I have been involved with No Labels from its early days and . . . this non-partisan grass roots political movement [that] seeks to restore civility to the political process and encourage and support the bi-partisan efforts of elected officials to reach across party lines to bring about solutions to our nation’s challenges.

    We believe everything must be on the table and everyone must be at the table for us to get out of the mess we find in our dysfunctional nation’s capital and all too many states and localities. Time to solve our problems is running out. Let me know if I can answer any questions that you might have.

    As of ______ I can be reached at ________ and at ___-______.

    Since our launch last December, we have seen some 90,000 people across the nation join No Labels. This is just the beginning. I hope to welcome you aboard.

    Best personal regards. N____

  2. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Why feminists are in high dudgeon over #Olbermann #Assange Rape Broken Condoms puzzles. Chris Matthews and Olbermann left a long video catalog in that regard. Why turn on him now? We can understand his puzzlement – he’s been getting away with it for years.

  3. Comment says

    Recall we noted when Olberman was suspended he was lucky in a way because it was just matter of time he got in some trouble with women. He has a knack for gratuitous insults that seem to be gender contingent and even when he is not trying to be callous he seems to fall on his face anyway – Here’s his latest predictable trouble:

  4. Comment says

    It’s just a matter of time before Keith O. gets in trouble for mocking women. We just tuned in and he is making fun of Jan Brewer’s looks. Creating sympathy for a pretty harsh character.

  5. Comment says

    “It’s a radical experiment for the politically homeless,” said Republican strategist Mark McKinnon

    Almost every word of that is bs lite

  6. Comment says

    Sitting Bull eventually surrendered after his surprise win at Little Big Horn – Then he toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Once a Sioux Chief — he embraced no labels as his career sunset.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge